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Agir contre - La violence conjugale

Conjugal violence

What is conjugal violence?

Conjugal violence is violence that occurs between two people who are living together or in a relationship, or have lived together or been in a relationship in the past. It concerns people of all ages. Conjugal violence places the victim's physical or mental integrity at risk, and involves daily behaviour ranging from threats, harassment and superficial blows to serious physical injury. It includes:

Verbal violence

Verbal violence is generally used to exert psychological violence, by using sarcasm, insults, shouting, or degrading and humiliating comments against the victim.

The aggressor may also use blackmail or threats, or give harsh orders. Verbal bullying may lead to physical violence, and makes the victim feel insecure or frightened and unable to escape from the situation.

Physical violence

Physical violence demonstrates the aggressor's domination, and takes the form of blows and injuries of all kinds, ranging from shoving, burning, biting and bone fractures to homicide. Physical mistreatment is often disguised as an accident.


Psychological violence

Psychological violence devalues the victim, for example through scornful attitudes or comment, humiliation, denigration, blackmail or neglect. The aggressor may also, through jealousy, deliberately isolate the victim, prohibit the victim from meeting specific people, or limit the victim's movements outside the home. The victim's self-esteem and self-confidence are undermined, and he or she may begin to doubt the aggressor's responsibility for the situation. The more socially isolated the victim becomes, the more vulnerable he or she is to other forms of violence. In some cases, the aggressor may use the victim's spiritual beliefs to justify domination and power.


Sexual violence

Sexual violence threatens the victim's sexual integrity. It goes beyond the realm of sex, in the sense that the aggressor uses sexual violence to dominate the most intimate aspects of the victim's life. The behaviour includes sexual assault, harassment, intimidation, manipulation, brutality to obtain unwanted sexual relations, etc. Some victims consent to sex in the hope of maintaining peace and avoiding violence.


Economic violence

Economic violence can be used by the aggressor to dominate the victim by depriving the victim of the financial and material resources needed to run the household. The victim's economic actions are monitored and controlled and the victim, who may or may not work outside the home, is left with no decision-making power. This type of violence creates financial dependency. 

Criminal offences

Some of these forms of violence are criminal offences, including:

  • threats;
  • physical violence;
  • criminal negligence;
  • sexual violence;
  • criminal harassment;
  • kidnapping;
  • confinement.

Alcohol, drugs and stress are all factors that can lead to violence, but never justify it. There are no substances or stressful situations that have the power to make somebody violent against his or her will.

Getting help

Telephone hotline offering listening, information and referral services for the victims of conjugal violence, family members and responders: 1 800 363-9010

  • Free, bilingual and confidential, accessible 24 hours a day and 7 ways a week throughout Québec.